John B. Watson, biography of the father of behaviorism

John B. Watson's research achieved knowledge that inspired many subsequent studies. Learn more about the story of this psychologist.

John B. Watson, biography of the father of behaviorism

John B. Watson is one of the most important figures in the history of psychology. He is considered the founder of the behaviorist school and one of the crucial researchers in the field of the human mind. Although his name is not without controversy, his contributions to psychology are extremely important.

John B. Watson's article "Psychology as Seen by the Behaviourist" is considered by many to be the foundational work of behaviorism. He was next to Ivan Pavlov, the father of classical conditioning, and B.F. Skinner, the father of operant conditioning, one of the three great pillars of this school.

However it was John B. Watson, who really popularized behaviorism. Although Pavlov and Skinner were stronger theorists than he was, Watson was able to advance behaviorism in the second and third decades of the 20. To convey and disseminate the ideas of the twentieth century.

"People are built, not born…. Give me the baby, and I will let him climb up and use his hands in constructing buildings of stone or wood…. I will make it a thief, an armed man or a devil. The possibilities for education in both directions are almost endless…."

-John B. Watson

The life of John B. Watson

John B. Watson was born on 9. January 1878 born in Travelers Rest, South Carolina (USA). His father, Pickens Butler Watson, suffered from alcoholism and left the family to make a new home with two Native American women. His mother, Emma Kesiah Watson, was deeply religious and her husband's departure probably strengthened her convictions.

Emma wanted to raise her son in strict asceticism. She forbade him to smoke, drink and dance. In fact, she baptized her son John because a Baptist minister she admired was named John. Her hope was that her young son would inherit a love of preaching along with the name.

In reality, the opposite was true. For one thing, little John never forgave his father for leaving him. He even developed behavioral problems to the point of being arrested. The severe restrictions imposed on him by his mother led him to develop a strong aversion to anything that sounded religious. As an adult he became an atheist.

Professional training

John B. Watson first studied at Furnam University, where he graduated with a bachelor's degree at the age of 21. He then did postgraduate studies at the University of Chicago, where he began interesting research on learning processes in the white rat. His doctoral dissertation, which he submitted at the age of 25, dealt with this topic.

At the time, he was the youngest doctoral student at the University of Chicago. The heads of the department were impressed by his studies and decided to hire him as an assistant professor. After four years he went to Johns Hopkins University and, more by accident than merit, became editor of the prestigious journal Psychological Review.

It was in this very journal that he published the seminal work of behaviorism in 1913. Just one year later, he became president of the American Psychological Association (APA). After a scandal over a secret affair, John B left. Watson left the academic world and went into advertising. In any case, almost all of his works are true classics of psychology.

John B. Watson: a scandalous life

The life of John B. Watson, who was born on 25. September 1958 ended in New York was surrounded by scandal. He married Mary Ickes before he got his doctorate, and they had two children named after their parents.

Daughter Mary attempted suicide and Mariette had mental disorders she attributed to being raised by her grandfather.

When Watson was working at Hopkins University, he began an affair with an assistant named Rosalie Rayner. With her he conducted the famous and controversial Little Albert experiment. His wife discovered the psychologist's correspondence with his mistress and published it. As a result he was asked to leave the university. He then divorced and married his assistant. He partly repeated his father's story.

He had two other children with Rosalie, whom he raised according to the principles of behaviorism. When she died in 1935, John B. Watson returned to a farm in Connecticut and devoted himself to field work. There he spent his last years. One of the sons from his second marriage, William, became a psychiatrist and committed suicide in 1963.

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